British Columbia is the largest and most progressive forestry region in Canada. The forest sector was part of your government’s economic action plan since its conception. The government of Canada invested in research and development of new forest products as well as opening new markets.
We allocated in past budgets, $127 million to help the struggling forest industry during the economic downturn to find new markets and develop new products with wood fiber.
This has resulted in a turn-around for the forest industry. Now, the new markets in the Pacific Rim have revived the industry. In budget 2013-14, your government budgeted an additional $92 million, over two years, to support innovation and expand markets.
David Lindsay, CEO of the Forest Producers Association of Canada, said, “We applaud the government for its continued support for the forest products sector even at a time tough measures are needed to reduce the deficit. This is a strategic future-oriented decision that demonstrates ongoing commitment to the transformation of the industry.”
The forest sector has forecasted that this investment will produce $20 billion in economic activity in new markets, innovative new products as well as a need for 60,000 more forest workers by the end of the decade.
Governments do not create jobs, business does. However, government must partner with sectors in the economy to ensure new foreign market agreements and innovation makes Canada more competitive globally.
These measures are all part of your government’s economic action plan that has provided jobs, growth and prosperity for Canadians.
To echo the Canadian Steel Producers Association, “Budget 2013-14 presents new long-term commitments… with measures that will strengthen growth prospects for Canadian manufacturing and the people and communities that depend on it.”
Colin Mayes is the MP for Okanagan-Shuswap